Specialist Areas

Contact

For further information or to receive updates on assessment programs contact:

Accredited Specialisation Department
T: 03 9607 9460
E: special@liv.asn.au

Administrative Law

The Specialisation assessment program will focus on technical knowledge and practical skills. As part of the assessment candidates are required to sit a written examination, conduct an oral submission and prepare advice for a client in the form of a letter and appropriate documents.

Knowledge and Skills

Any matter relevant to practice in administrative law may be examined. The list below gives an indication of areas that may be subject to assessment; however, it is not exhaustive.

Information Access Management:

  • Freedom of Information Acts and Regulations (Victorian and Commonwealth).
  • Right of access as an adjunct to the right of freedom of expression.
  • Information privacy.
  • Right against having your privacy unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with.
  • Secrecy/Confidentiality provisions in specific legislation prohibiting  disclosure.
  • Statements of reasons for decision in various legislation.
  • Summonses to produce documents (subpoenas).

Good decision making:

  • General principles.
  • Review of decisions.
  • Merits review (Victoria and Commonwealth).
  • Judicial review (Victoria and Commonwealth).

Non Judicial Scrutiny – Complaints and Inquiries

  • Integrity or oversight bodies generally (eg Ombudsman, Auditors-General)
  • Particular integrity or oversight bodies (eg Privacy and Data Protection Commissioner, IBAC etc.)

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Oral submission.
  • Letter of advice.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Administrative Law: 2013
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 18

Business Law

Assessment for Accredited Specialisation in business law focuses on advice and guidance to small and medium-sized enterprises. As well as providing high level legal advice, specialists are expected to have a sound understanding of the business issues facing their clients. In 2016, the assessment will consist of one written exam (extended response and short answer) as well as a take-home assignment and simulated client interview.

Knowledge and Skills

Group A – Major Topics:

  • Buying and selling a business.
  • Business structures.
  • Securities and guarantees.
  • Taxation.
  • Leases.
  • Employment.
  • Intellectual property.
  • Franchising.
  • Trade practices and fair trading.

Group B – Other Topics:

  • Insolvency.
  • Insurance.
  • Incorporated associations.
  • Planning and environmental matters.
  • Liquor licensing.
  • Privacy.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination (extended response and short answer).
  • Take-home assignment.
  • Simulated interview.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the most recent Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Business Law: 1991
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 110

Children's Law

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination (extended response and short answer).
  • Simulated interview.
  • Mock submissions contest.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the most recent Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Children's Law: 2012
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 43

Commercial Litigation

The assessment program includes a written examination to examine knowledge in the area of commercial litigation, a simulated interview providing candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their communication and interview techniques, and finally the completion of a letter to a client and draft pleadings following the interview.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Trade practices.
  • Insurance.
  • Professional liability.
  • Obligations of company directors and rights of shareholders.
  • Contract litigation.
  • Insolvency.
  • Banking.

Core Topics

  • Jurisdictional issues.
  • General contractual principles and remedies.
  • Claims and remedies in tort.
  • Claims and remedies for misleading or deceptive conduct, misrepresentation and unconscionable conduct.
  • Equitable claims and remedies.
  • Contribution and proportionate liability.
  • Time limitations.
  • Liability of directors and officers.
  • Rules of procedure and pleading.
  • Concurrent liability in tort.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Simulated interview.
  • Take-home assignment/letter of advice.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Commercial Litigation: 1993
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 60

Commercial Tenancy Law

The 2019 assessment program is focused on technical knowledge and practical skills. There will be three assessment components: a written exam requiring candidates to provide a combination of short and extended response answers on complex commercial tenancy law matters and practice, a simulated client interview requiring candidates to demonstrate their practical client skills and a take home assignment requiring candidates to prepare a letter of advice

Core Topics

  • The nature of a leasehold interest in land.
  • The application of contractual principles to leases.
  • The application of equitable principles to leases.
  • Leasehold inquiries and disclosures.
  • Preparing and negotiating leasehold documentation.
  • Leasehold clauses.
  • Tenant's fixtures and improvements.
  • Protection of leases.
  • Renewal of leases.
  • Termination of leases.
  • Remedies.
  • Retail tenancies.
  • Legal costs in respect of leasing transactions.
  • Stamp duty in respect of leasing transactions.
  • GST and leases.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination (extended and short answer responses).
  • Simulated client interview
  • Take-home assignment

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in commercial tenancy law: 1999
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 16

Costs Law

Introduced in 2010, the assessment program will examine the candidates' knowledge in the area of costs law, with a written examination, take home assignment and simulated hearing.

Topics of Assessment

Practitioner Client Costs:

  • The retainer.
  • Cost agreement and disclosure statements.
  • Compliance with the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Vic) and Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules 2015.
  • Who can seek to have costs assessed and when.
  • Rights of and  duties owed to third parties (both associated and non-associated).
  • The jurisdiction of VCAT.
  • The jurisdiction of the Legal Services Commissioner in relation to cost disputes.

General:

  • Interpretation of cost orders.
  • Different bases of cost taxation.
  • Understanding of and application of the Commonwealth and Victorian court scales and rules (including VCAT).
  • Drawing a bill of costs.
  • Right to amend the Bill.
  • Challenges to a bill of costs.
  • The procedures involved in a taxation/assessment of costs.
  • Review or appeal of a taxation.
  • Costs of a taxation.
  • Assessment of counsel's fees.
  • Offers of compromise and other offers of settlement and their cost consequences.
  • Costing non-litigious work including mortgages and leases.
  • Costing work in wills and estates.
  • Charges of a solicitor-trustee.
  • Party-party costs in WorkCover matters.
  • Party-party costs in Transport Accident matters.
  • Agency costs.
  • Preparation of expert reports.
  • Powers of the taxing officer.
  • Security for costs.
  • Gross sum cost applications.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Take-home assignment.
  • Simulated hearing.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Costs Law: 2010
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 11

Criminal Law

Knowledge and Skills

  • Advocacy.
  • Magistrates' Court.
  • Children's Court.
  • County Court.
  • Supreme Court.
  • Coroner's Court:
    • procedural matters
    • procedure
    • evidence
    • sentencing.
  • Substantive criminal law.
  • Elements of crime.
  • Crime defences:
    • complicity
    • derivative liability
    • particular criminal offences
    • legislation
    • commonwealth
    • state.

Candidates are assessed on the law as it stands on the day of examination. Any matters relevant to Criminal Law practice are open to examination.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination (short answer and extended responses).
  • Oral presentation (presentation in front of a panel of peers – accredited specialists).
  • Simulated court presentation – advocacy.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Criminal Law: 1995
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 110

Environmental & Planning Law

To gain accreditation in environment and planning law, applicants must demonstrate a high level of competence and legal knowledge, and an ability to respond to questions with sound practical advice in an efficient and clear manner.

Candidates are expected to complete a written examination (both short answer and extended response questions), a take-home assignment linked to the extended response written examination questions and a VCAT presentation.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Planning.
  • Subdivisions.
  • Land acquisition and compensation.
  • Environmental controls.
  • Conservation controls.
  • Jurisdictions, powers and procedures.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Written submission.
  • VCAT presentation of written submission.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • Originally assessed as Local Government & Town Planning Law in 1989
  • Modified to Environmental, Planning and Local Government Law in 1999
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 23

Family Law

The assessment program will focus on technical knowledge and practical skills. As part of the assessment candidates are provided with a mock file and requested to prepare advice for a client in the form of a letter and appropriate court documents.

In addition, candidates sit a written exam and are also expected to conduct a videotaped simulated interview with a person acting in the role of a client. This enables examiners to assess interaction between the two parties.

Family law is offered nationally with Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia cooperating in the development of the assessment program.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Divorce.
  • Nullity.
  • Children.
  • Spousal maintenance.
  • Child maintenance and child support.
  • Binding financial agreements and existing section 87 agreements.
  • Property.
  • Injunctions.
  • Procedures.
  • Evidence.
  • Enforcement.
  • Costs.
  • Reviews/appeals.
  • Inherent, associated and accrued jurisdiction.
  • Miscellaneous matters.

Assessment Tasks

  • Mock file take-home assignment.
  • Written examination.
  • Simulated interview.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Family Law: 1989
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 219

Immigration Law

Candidates are examined on their ability to take instructions, provide initial advice, research and investigate, and develop and implement an action plan. Candidates were required to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a written examination and take-home assignment. A simulated interview provided practitioners with the opportunity to display their interview and communication techniques.

Immigration law was offered nationally in 2008, with Queensland and NSW practitioners also undertaking the Victorian assessment program.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Fundamental principles.
  • Visa requirements:
    • general requirements
    • public interest criteria Schedule 4/Schedule 5
    • points tests and skills determination.
  • Migrant entry.
  • Temporary entry.
  • Change of status.
  • Refugee and humanitarian entry.
  • Detention, cancellation and compliance.
  • Review of migration decisions:
    • merits review
    • judicial review.
  • Citizenship.
  • Client contact.
  • Responsibilities of a lawyer.
  • Regulation of migration agents.
  • Other relevant issues.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Simulated interview.
  • Take-home assignment mock file.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Please note that the Accredited Specialisation assessment program is an approved activity for the purpose of the Continuing Professional Development program for migration agents with MARA. See the application guidelines for more details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Immigration Law: 1992
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 34

Mediation

To gain accreditation, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of the rules, practices and procedures and techniques of mediation. Along with the capacity to apply relevant knowledge to situations encountered in practice. Assessment consists of a written exam and a simulated mediation.

Knowledge and Skills

  • The place of mediation in relation to the other modes of dispute resolution.
  • Any policy or code or practice.
  • Rules and practices relating to the powers and duties of mediators.
  • The confidentiality of mediation proceedings and the admissibility of evidence derived there from.
  • Techniques for dealing with an imbalance in power between the parties arising from differences in such characteristics as gender, culture, intellectual capacity and legal representation.
  • Impartiality, neutrality and appropriate levels of intervention in mediation proceedings.
  • Liability of mediators.
  • The development of court-annexed mediation and its place in the process of the courts.
  • Trends towards mandatory mediation.
  • Standards and ethics of mediators and the mediation process.
  • The ability to apply your knowledge and skills in mediation to deal with the facts of the dispute and manage the interactions between the mediator and the parties in dispute, including difficulties which may arise in the course of the mediation.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Simulated mediation.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in mediation: 1993
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 18

Personal Injury Law

The assessment program will focus on both technical knowledge and practical skills. There is a written exam which covers two components – general and specialty topics – a simulated client interview and a case presentation. The presentation may or may not be based on the scenario of the simulated client interview.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Transport accident compensation.
  • Workers compensation.
  • Medical negligence.
  • Product liability.
  • Public liability.
  • Comcare.
  • Damages.
  • Negligence.
  • Strict and statutory liability.
  • Defences.
  • Procedures.
  • Costs.
  • Liability in negligence.
  • Liability in public nuisance.
  • Liability in assault and battery.
  • Liability in contract.
  • Assessment of damages.
  • Choice of law.
  • Time limitations.
  • Proceedings.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Simulated client interview (recorded).
  • Case presentation (recorded).

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Personal Injury Law: 1993
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 99

Property Law

Applicants should note that Accredited Specialisation is also offered in commercial tenancy law for lawyers whose property law dealings are predominantly related to leasing of premises for use in business. Specialisation in property law assumes involvement in a broader range of activities, which includes commercial tenancy.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Conveyancing.
  • Tenancies.
  • Structuring, title and interests.
  • Building, construction and property development.
  • Imposts.
  • Statutory restrictions.
  • Legislative controls.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination (extended and short answer responses).
  • Simulated client interview.
  • Take-home assignment.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Property Law: 1994
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 70

Tax Law

To be successful, candidates must display a high level of competence, skill and legal knowledge of tax law. Candidates should demonstrate their ability in responding to questions with sound practical and commercial advice in an efficient and clear manner.

Candidates are required complete a written exam, a take-home assignment, plus a presentation to peers.

Candidates who have completed a Masters of Tax within the past five years may be exempt from completing the written exam component of the examination process.

Knowledge and Skills

Core topics:

  • Income.
  • Deductions.
  • Capital Gains.
  • Tax strategies and anti-avoidance.
  • Administration.

Non-core topics:

  • Taxpayers.
  • Stamp duty.
  • GST issues.
  • International tax.
  • Employment.
  • Land Tax.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Take-home assignment.
  • Presentation to peers.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2019.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Income Tax Law was offered in May 1999
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 15

Wills & Estates

The assessment program focuses on the ability to communicate with the client, elicit relevant information, obtain instructions and identify relevant issues as the basis for the practical assessment. A written examination and simulated interview will form part of the assessment, in addition a take-home assignment will further test candidates' knowledge of wills and estates, including their skills in the provision of clear, practical and comprehensive advice.

Knowledge and Skills

Core topics:

  • Wills.
  • Testator.
  • Grants of representation.
  • Executors/trustees.
  • Administration.
  • Powers of attorney and guardianship.
  • Trusts.
  • Intestacy.
  • Testamentary gifts.
  • Taxation.
  • Real property.
  • Superannuation and insurance.
  • Choses in action.
  • Testator's Family Maintenance/family provision.
  • Other estate litigation.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written examination.
  • Take-home assignment.
  • Simulated interview.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Wills & Estates: 1993
  • Number of accredited practitioners: 72

Workplace Relations

The assessment program focuses on applicants demonstrating a high level of competence and legal knowledge, and displaying an ability to respond to questions with sound practical advice in an efficient and clear manner. Candidates are required to draft a written submission pertaining to an agreed fact situation; this forms part of an oral assessment component before a member of Fair Work Australia as well as completing a written exam.

Knowledge and Skills

Core topics:

  • The Common Law of Employment.
  • Industrial Relations Systems (Cth & Vic).
  • Statutory Unfair Dismissal (Cth).
  • Discrimination law.
  • Minimum entitlements under Awards and the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions standards.
  • Privacy issues.
  • Statutory regimes relating to misconduct.
  • Agreement making – collective and individual.
  • Registered organisations.
  • Transmission of business issues.
  • Workers' compensation.
  • Occupational Health & Safety Law.
  • Independent contractors.
  • Leave entitlements.
  • Key aspects of the Unfair Dismissal Statutory Regime in state jurisdictions.
  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) matters.
  • Taxation and superannuation.

Assessment Tasks

  • Written submission.
  • Written examination.
  • Advocacy – oral submissions.

Note: Assessment arrangements are subject to change. Please refer to the Application Guidelines for details.

Application

The next assessment program is being held in 2018.

For the Record

  • First assessment program in Workplace Relations: 2003
  • The number of accredited practitioners: 24